Cooking Louisiana  -  Barbeque
Barbecue is a southern favorite and is a fun past time when the weather is nice, and, you just want to be outside. Barbecue is also responsible for many a big family gathering when the kids play in the yard, the women gather and chat and the men stand around lying to each other. Whichever happens it's all about fun and good eating.

There are hundreds upon hundreds of barbecue recipes and styles. Naturally I barbecue and my style is my style, but, since I'm here typing I'll share with you the little things I do and share a little method along with it.

Traditional barbecue takes large cuts of meat and slow cooks them on a pit with charcoal/hardwood combinations. A smoke flavor is essential with good barbecue. In South Louisiana an old past time and family event is a couchon de lait. This is a a whole roasted suckling pig stuffed with garlic and other spices and rubbed with copious seasonings. This is done throughout the world so we haven't invented anything new here.

The fast food enthusiast has come to translate barbecuing to grilling however the two are slightly different in that the grill (usually gas fired) lends no smoked wood flavor to the bounty as does charcoal and hardwoods. By the way, hardwoods include hickory, mesquite, pecan and cherry to name a few. I like grilling for such things as steaks, burgers and the like but in the quick cook meats the smoke flavor is not demanded. Chicken and ribs require smoke in my opinion!


BBQI like to allow at least four hours to barbecue.One hour to get the pit right and the remaining three to cook the meat (this is one batch). You would of course allow more time if you're cooking more than your pit can handle in one cycle. Chicken normally takes the longest, then the ribs and then the smaller choices. I'll light the coals and let them get almost all white. I leave the coals in a pile, I don't spread them out. Why? Because this gives me a choice of the heat intensity I want to cook with. After brushing the grill down (no, I don't burn it) I get to work. Before I get too busy I put a tin can of water right over the fire to get some steam goin' (helps keep the meat moist). Soak some hardwood chips beforehand and throw them in every half hour. A smoker box works well as it does not let the wood catch fire. You can find these at most grill accessory stores.


A little water added to your favorite barbecue sauce is the ticket. If you add the right amount of water to the sauce it will still stick to the meat. Put too much water and it rolls off the meat. I don't have to tell you which one you want! Besides a water/sauce baste you can also use a butter or oil baste. I like to finish up with this type because it adds flavor, not moisture.


The chicken goes on first and I start by quartering the bird, making a small slit behind the leg and thigh (promotes faster cooking in the joint), patting it dry and seasoning it with olive oil and Creole seasoning and whatever else you like. At the beginning the chicken is snuggled up close to the fire, meat side down to get it a little browned. I flip it once and brown it some more then move it just a little farther away from the heat. Remember we're slow cooking here. The skin side stays down for the remainder of the cooking. After about an hour the basting starts. Now, after the second hour move the chicken a little farther from the fire and continue to baste it with the water/sauce baste. If you have a small pit you may not have the luxury of moving the meat away. In that case you can always stack it one piece on top the other and rotate it. Yes, it's a little more work but well worth it. The last thirty minutes I put the un-diluted sauce on it and let 'er go. Now, when the meat starts to leave the bone it's done. The thigh takes the longest to cook, when you see the thigh bone move freely in the meat it's done. You can take it off before then but the seasoning will not have penetrated as it should. For added moisture you can form a pan with aluminum foil, put a little water in it, put the chicken in it and close it up. Set this far from the fire and let it steam about 20 minutes.


BarbQueBeef and pork ribs are a must! Slow cooking them is naturally the thing to do. Start them out like the chicken, close to the fire then move them away. You can also attempt a medium-well rib, which is good but you have to stay with it. This is done right close to the fire and if you have a poor grade of meat will most likely not come out good. It's a chance you take with beef but pork ribs are more forgiving. When doing this keep the bone side down. Lack of moisture is the "big enemy" of ribs on the pit. To help keep them moist put a piece of heavy duty foil with the sides rolled up under the ribs sort of like a pan, or, use a pan covered. Keep a small amount of water in the pan. It will steam and help keep the meat moist. I use a pressurized water spritzer, or a regular hand sprayer to spray a little water on everything as it cooks.

Check Out - Baby Back Ribs...
10 Steps to Juicy Ribs

Sausage and stuff....

These quickies go on last and of course baste them as you please....Smoked Sausage sometimes has a lot of fat in it. I suggest you cook it a while then cut it down the middle and put a little sauce on it but don't leave it on the grill for more than a few minutes. You can also pierce it to release some of the fat when it's done cooking. Fresh sausage needs to be cooked throughout, smoked sausage is already cooked or cured so all it takes is heating. Fresh sausage is best done away from the direct heat for a while, and, don't pierce the casing. Fresh sausage is normally made with water in it. The water in the meat mixture not only gives it moisture, but assists in the cooking process. Some folks like to put Boudin on the pit which is good but many times it will pop out of the casing. That's because it was subjected to heat over 300°F. Boudin is already cooked when you buy it so just set it off away from the high heat and let it get warm and soak up the smoke.

Homemade hamburgersBurgers bought in the freezer section of the grocery cook quick. Keep them moist and try not to over do them. Homemade Hamburgers will take longer to do and I like to do these when the fire subsides a little. I also try not to cook them directly over the fire if the fire is real hot.

We can't leave out oysters, shrimp and fish as these are all great on the pit. Remember when cooking theses, they don't take long, so be careful not to dry them out. Here's a good seafood kabob recipe.

Here's one method to keep the meat moist. About an hour before it's all done put the meat in a pan and cover the bottom with water. Put one more good coating of barbecue sauce over it, cover the pan, and let it steam. This method will leave you with a little sauce at the bottom. Cut the meat and slosh it around in the sauce before you take it out.

Note: Never pierce the chicken or ribs with a fork. Use tongs always. Piercing meat lets the natural juices out; you don't want that.

Hint: After the stuff is done and you have it in the pan add a little water (about 1/8 cup) to the pan and keep it covered. Promotes moistness.

Another hint; When reheating barbecue, sprinkle a little water on the meat before you reheat it. Again, this promotes a moist meat.

Bon' Appetite'